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Enter here for the chance to win a pair of tickets to see Josh Rouse at the Horseshoe on Wed. Jun 10 (as well as a test pressing of his new record)!

 

Enter here for the chance to win a pair of tickets to see Mumford & Sons at The Commons at Butler's Barracks in Niagara-on-the-Lake on Mon. Jun 15!

Last Month's Top Sellers

1. SUFJAN STEVENS - Carrie & Lowell
2. GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR - 'Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress'
3. CHILLY GONZALES - Chambers
4. COURTNEY BARNETT - Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
5. KENDRICK LAMAR - To Pimp A Butterfly

Click here for full list.

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FEATURED RELEASES

Tuesday
May262015

UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA - Multi-Love

"There are plenty of albums about heartbreak, but not so many about polyamorous relationships in which a third party leaves both you and your wife confused and heartbroken. Ruban Nielson might have tangled his emotions beyond repair during the making of his band's third album, but you can't deny the subject matter is compelling. 'Multi-love has got me on my knee/We were one, then become three,' he sings on the title track, adding: 'It's not that this song's about her/All songs are about her.' The Auckland/Portland band’s multi-love is multi-coloured, too, taking soul music as its template but splashing the canvas with futurist synths and trippy vocal effects." - The Guardian

Monday
May252015

KENNY KNIGHT - Crossroads

"There's a very singular combination of world-weariness and hope running throughout Crossroads, a still timely grappling with the realities of getting by in this country. You can hear it most clearly in 'America,' which is at turns a paean to this nation, as well a plea to it: 'don't lock me out.' This juggling of sophisticated dualities extends even to his love songs, as on 'One Down' (possibly the album's finest track, and one which could sit comfortably next to American Beauty's best), where he asks, 'how much can one heart take?' while still acknowledging that he'll 'stay in love forever more.'

As so often is the case, life got in the way of Kenny's music, and even after crafting such a perfect LP, his hopes and dreams would remain unrealized, with family obligations and service to his country ultimately having to take precedence." - Paradise Of Bachelors

Monday
May252015

VA - Remembering Mountains: Unheard Songs By Karen Dalton

"How many albums full of songs sung by Karen Dalton exist? Not many, technically, yet relics and stories from the folk singer's short life keep emerging. For instance, they say Dalton hated being recorded and the existence of her 1969 album It's So Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You The Best was the result of trickery. That and 1971's In My Own Time are the only two albums she ever officially released.

For years it seemed no other Dalton recordings existed, until Nashville-based label Delmore released the double-disc Cotton Eyed Joe, a collection of her live recordings at the Attic, a tiny venue in Boulder, Colorado. Then, Green Rocky Road appeared in 2008, a collection of songs that Dalton had recorded herself, somewhat dismissing the idea that she feared or disliked the process of recording. Finally, Delmore released another collection of unearthed recordings by Dalton and her husband Richard Tucker entitled 1966 in 2012, and that was where her story rested until now. Even when the album tally made its way up to five, none of these records included original material from Dalton. It’s also been claimed that she never wrote her own songs, but like many things about her, we don’t really know that. We don’t really know anything about the enigmatic, rebellious singer except what comes to us in trickles through friends and lost remnants of her meager estate.

There has to be someone who picks up those threads and stitches them together, and in this case it was Josh Rosenthal of Tompkins Square. Rosenthal struck up a working relationship and a friendship with guitarist Peter Walker, a fellow folk musician and close friend of Dalton during her life. One day, Walker showed Rosenthal a file of Dalton’s personal papers he had kept: it contained everything from handwritten lyrics and poems, to notes about appointments and transcribed folk songs. Some of the lyrics she had written even had chords set to them. Walker ended up collecting these papers and self-publishing a book, spurring Rosenthal to eventually enlist some of his favorite female artists to cover and rework these lyrics into song." - Stereogum

Friday
May222015

THE WEATHER STATION - Loyalty

"Tamara Lindeman recorded Loyalty with Afie Jurvanen (a.k.a. Bahamas) and Robbie Lackritz last February at La Frette-sur-Seine in France—the same ivy-walled, iron-gated mansion/studio where Lackritz engineered Feist's The Reminder. Lindeman and Jurvanen played nearly all of the instruments on the record, and Lindeman sang all the layered vocals, adding woodwinds and strings later, back in Canada.
 
It was important to Lindeman that despite overdubs the album have a live feel: she and Jurvanen laid down drums and guitars or both their guitar parts simultaneously in much the same way that Lindeman recorded her 2011 sophomore album
, All of It Was Mine, with Daniel Romano—with the two sitting and facing each other.
 
"It's the best way for me to feel a song," says Lindeman. "And then you've got a full take, you have to perform it in full and you can't mess around. I have a problem I need to get over. I hate click tracks and refuse to use them, which is very obvious on this record. So that's why it's not perfect."

 
If the record is not perfect, it is near-perfect in its imperfections: the music travels and breathes while conveying a new, deeper feeling of groundedness; Lindeman's vocals sound husky and assured over Jurvanen's textures and rhythms as she lyrically explores and describes complicated, nuanced relationships with friends, family, love interests, and art/work."
- Exclaim

Friday
May222015

VA - Sherwood At The Controls, Vol. 1: 1979-1984

"Sherwood At The Controls, Vol. 1 captures the producer very early in his career, applying dub techniques to an eclectic variety of rhythms, including a surprising amount of punk-funk grooves.

Sherwood takes an aggressively experimental approach to remixing, even when working with more traditional reggae artists. When you apply that attitude to songs by post-punk bands like The Fall, the results sometimes walk the line between mind-blowing and irritating, but at least they're always interesting. He was far from the first to combine dub reggae and punk, but he took the results farther into outer space than anyone else." - NOW

Friday
May222015

JIM O'ROURKE - Simple Songs

"Simple Songs is one of those albums that tests and rewards your faith in an artist's aesthetic vision, even as they're taking you to some rather queasy places. The title is a joke, of course (and not the album's most sophisticated): these are ornate and tricksy constructions, that align post-rock and prog's constant gear-shifts and rigorous compositional fussiness with an at least more superficially saccharine tradition.


When he gives a sly nod to Queen on 'End Of The Road,' or ends the album with a finale that matches the throbbing grandiosity of '10538 Overture,' it would be easy to read Simple Songs, at least in part, as a prank, a provocateur's pastiche. O'Rourke, though, is a more complex operator than that. His references and subversions, his games and digs, are oblique and nuanced; his purposes sometimes obtuse; his music more or less infallibly, if not always comprehensibly, excellent." - Uncut
Friday
May222015

CHARLIE RICH - So Lonesome I Could Cry

"Fat Possum's 2015 So Lonesome I Could Cry release is a reissue of the 1977 Hi album of the same name, which itself is a reissue of a 1967 LP called Charlie Rich Sings Country and Western. An alternate title for the album could've been Charlie Rich Sings Hank Williams because this is a 12-track collection of Hank covers, about half of which are well-known and the other half relatively obscure. A handful of the songs are as loose and groove-oriented as the Hi imprint would suggestthere's a nice swagger to 'Half as Much' and 'Nobody's Lonesome for Me,' while 'Cold, Cold Heart' finds an oddly appealing rhythm halfway between Memphis and Nashvillebut there's also a heavy dose of ballads, some of which are austere, some of which are lush. The backing vocals can be a little bit much at times, but Rich's casually virtuosic touch remains the focal point and is always alluring." - Allmusic

Friday
May222015

VA - Loose The Funk: Rare Soul From Sound Stage 7 Records / Rarities From The Jewel/Paula Vaults

"Heavy funk from Sound Stage 7, a legendary label that's often known for its deep soul work of the late '70s, but an imprint who are equally skilled in the funk department as well! The label's Nashville placement gave them a unique opportunity to draw from sources like Memphis, Muscle Shoals, and even Ohio, and create a tight blend of grooves that was one of the hippest on the underground scene of the time, one of the few southern soul labels you could trust for funky cuts as much as any of the New York or east coast indies.

Jewel and Paula were more than able to come up with the goods again and again over the years, with roots in the south, and artists in styles that included blues, gospel, and jazz, making for a fresh and unique criss-crossing of modes in a set of singles that dug way deeper than the usual hits from the label."
- Dusty Groove

Saturday
May092015

DION - Recorded Live At The Bitter End, August 1971

"When the wave of early rock and roll ebbed, Dion reinvented himself as a singer-songwriter and interpreter of others' songs, and there was nobody hipper. It was at this point, in 1971, that this recording was made live at the famous Bitter End in New York City.

It was only Dion and his acoustic guitar on stage that night as he charmed his way through laid-back versions of his own songs and covers of some of the best songwriters around, like Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, and even, surprisingly, Chuck Berry and Lightnin' Hopkins. He included, of course, his last big hit, 'Abraham, Martin and John,' which captured the emotion of many who lived through the lives and deaths of the American icons the song is about." - Blogcritics

Saturday
May092015

JACCO GARDNER - Hypnophobia

"To call Jacco Gardner a daydreamer may not be as farfetched as he’d have you believe. Its meaning may refer to a fear of sleep, but with Hypnophobia, the brand new album from 'baroque pop' prince and Dutch producer/multi-instrumentalist Gardner, he's all set to cast a majestic and vibrant psychedelic spell that will hypnotise listeners at the point dreams and reality meet.

'I came up with the title 'Hypnophobia' while falling asleep and part of my brain just didn’t turn off,' explains Gardner. 'I often have trouble letting go of reality, even though I prefer the world in my dreams... Hypnophobia comes from a place where fears, darkness and creativity collide, like a slightly scary lucid dream. Fearing a loss of control definitely plays a big part of it.'" - Polyvinyl

Friday
May082015

METZ - II

"Frontman Alex Edkins has said that this record was made with a 'mistakes-left-in kind of approach,' but if anything this only makes II‘s noise-rock more pointed and direct. 'Spit You Out' starts out feeling like a familiar METZ track, all tightly wound distorted bass and sneered vocals, but it casually morphs into something a little more woolly and wild. Edkins' guitar lines and Hayden Menzies' drums rattle and sputter around like malfunctioning machinery before revving back into the pummeling high gear they’re known for. That’s the rule for most of what works best on II: the trio take the forms that worked the first time around, turn them on their head, and then jump right back into the fray with reckless abandon." - SPIN

Thursday
May072015

MARKER STARLING - Rosy Maze

"There is no one else like Cummings in Toronto (Tonetta, with his dirty, aggressive lo-fi scuzz-pop, might in fact be his antithesis). Perhaps there is nothing like him in the world, and foreign listeners are catching on: Marker Starling's new album Rosy Maze on Tin Angel is already receiving high accolades internationally.

Carefully produced and 13 tracks long including delicate interludes, Rosy Maze doesn't sound like an album made in haste—and it wasn't. The album has been in the works since 2010, with some songs, such as 'I Guarantee You a Good Time'and 'Uphill Battle,' started as long as 15 years ago." - Chart Attack

Monday
May042015

ALABAMA SHAKES - Sound & Color

"After the wild success of Alabama Shakes' debut, it took a lot of courage to veer into the territory they explore in Sound & Color, a deeply layered collage of tempos and texturesand a seemingly hard left-turn from their previous work. Patient listeners will hear evidence of the R&B-tinged retro-rock they crafted on Boys & Girls, but here, it’s just an element of a greater groove—actually, grooves, pursuing myriad versions in these 12 songs. Sometimes the rhythms skitter and stutter; sometimes they throb, or soothe. More often than anything, they surprise and intrigue." - American Songwriter

Tuesday
Apr282015

VA - Spiritual Jazz 6: Vocals

"Having examined spiritual jazz as it was expressed in the US, and then followed its messengers and influences in Europe and beyond, the sixth instalment of our Spiritual Jazz series showcases jazz vocals: a collection of jazz messages united in voice.

The majority of tracks here are as political as they are theological, but it's the inner sanctity of the music that is the defining factor. These are songs that concern themselves with the universal condition of this world, as well as the next. In fact, as the distinction between the theological and the humanistic is blurred, so is the definition of a song—many of the tracks are atypical in that they do not possess lyrics with a beginning, middle and end.

Likewise, the voices that convey them often can't be said to be 'singing' in the usual sense of the word; we hear solemn chanting, intense wailing, earnest poetry and ardent recitation in between bouts of singing, the quality of which is often nothing short of exquisite.The styles of performance encompass modern jazz, the avant-garde and jazz fusion, and include elements of styles from the long and winding path of the African diaspora, including Cuban, Brazilian, Caribbean and other Pan-American rhythms. Spiritual Jazz 6: Vocals examines some of the rarest and most extraordinary vocal jazz recordings.

We have included some well-known songs, as well as some of the most obscure. There are tracks recorded made for major labels, and some that were issued privately. But all of them speak or sing of a better place or a better world, and the world can only be a better place when they are played." - Jazzman Records

Friday
Apr242015

GONZALES - Chambers

"Jason Beck, the man who puts the bomb into the bombast of Chilly, retired from the rap game in 2003, and while he's dabbled since then (The Unspeakable purported to be the world's first orchestral rap album), he's managed to successfully smuggle the virtuoso pianist into our midst as his own career Trojan horse, and it's that persona we imagine now when we think of him. It's been a gradual and surprisingly smooth transmogrification, the electro cabaret maître d' with the extra testicle now a fully-fledged classical composer, having released Solo Piano, Solo Piano II and now this; indeed, by the conclusion of Chambers and the final song 'Myth Me', to hear the Canadian's voice suddenly appear almost feels incongruous. It's testament to just how successful he's been in his image overhaul, not that it really feels like one...Gonzales the renaissance man comes with the not uncharacteristically grand ambition of breathing new life into something contemporarily neglected. To do this, he conflates the old with the new with customary swagger." - The Quietus

Wednesday
Apr082015

WEED - Running Back

"Weed's songs sound like layered linen. Instrumental fragments are fragile and wispy on their own, but stacked together, these small pieces create an impressive textural whole. Weed call Vancouver home, and despite being a city with as many scenes stacked within it as there are layers of molten haze on their album, Weed sound distinctly Pacific Northwestern. That is not to say that Weed's new album recalls Sub Pop's early empire; it's more of a reference to the softened gloom found on the album. This is a record that all at once sounds like rain on Sundays, trying to drive home in a late-night downpour, and the moment when the sun slowly creeps out from behind the clouds to breathe some sort of life into a soggy day. There's hope to be found in this dour, silty mud." - Stereogum

"The band with the most unfriendly U.S. border-crossing name in the world are back with a new full-length. Weed formed in 2010 with the chance meeting of Will Anderson and Kevin Doherty at a clothing-optional beach in Vancouver that I can only assume was Wreck. Hugo Noriega joined later, and the band has gone through 'a million drummers' since. Now they’ve signed to Lefse and are starting to garner some serious attention, thanks in part to the well-honed skills of Jordan Koop of the Noise Floor.

"Although Weed didn’t exactly 'run back' to release a follow up to 2013's Deserve, they did it patiently and perfectly. Plodding along, Running Back sees a band comfortably and confidently master a genre. Whether or not the album title refers to a quick jog along a golden beach or a sprint through the cool woods, or perhaps a return to form, they've nailed that melodic, fuzzy, emotional, grungy, shoegaze sound that everyone is wetting themselves over right now." - Beat Route

Thursday
Apr022015

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR - 'Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress'

"'Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress' is exceptional in the GY!BE canon in a whole heap of ways. Firstly, it's a mere 40 minutes longwhich is short by anybody's modern standards, let alone for the band which popularised the 20-minute-plus track time for a whole generation. What's more, the four tracks that make up the album play through as one single suite, resulting in such a potent statement that it's tough to argue against always sitting through in its entirety (as if 'motherfucker=redeemer' had been its own album). The only other release by the band to rival Asunder in its sheer distilled potency is the half-hour Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada EP.

A deceptively meaningful step for Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the occasional soppiness of post-rock, which ultimately rendered it a dirty word in certain circles, has all but disappeared from the work of its godparents, now truly playing the music they were destined to play, and in its purest, weightiest possible form." - The Quietus

Tuesday
Mar312015

RYLEY WALKER - Primrose Green

"Bert Jansch (and Pentangle), Tim Buckley, Nick Drake, John Martyn, Tim Hardin: these are just some of the ghosts that haunt the fringes of Primrose Green, the excellent second album from Chicago guitarist and songwriter Ryley Walker. Whilst his debut showed promise, not least in his tumbling, cascasing acoustic guitar playing, Primrose Green performs an impressive double stunt in better showcasing both his songwriting and singing on one hand, and his ambition to create something looser, freer and more spontaneous on the other.

To achieve the latter, Walker has employed a high level, fluent and creative band of seasoned Chicago jazz players. Walker understands the John Martyn of Inside Out as much as he understands the John Martyn of Bless The Weather, yet the songs here are also richly melodic, evocative and pastoral. The combination of inspired writing and productive improvising results in something freewheeling, psychedelic and fluid, music that is proud to wear its influences on its sleeve, but which also seems in its own way daring and personal." - MusicOHM

Saturday
Mar282015

VA - Highlife On The Move: Selected Nigerian & Ghanian Recordings From London & Lagos 1954-66

"In conjunction with compiler and highlife researcher Dr. Markus Coester, Soundway Records presents this very special release on double CD or triple 180g gatefold vinyl (with bonus 7-inch).

The 45 includes the two first-ever recordings by Fela Ransome Kuti with his band The Highlife Rakers. Recorded by Melodisc in London in 1960, both tracks have been unearthed after more than fifty years in hiding.

In many ways, this compilation is a prequel to Soundway's groundbreaking Nigeria & Ghana Special compilations, telling the early story of modern highlife's foundation & formulation. It traces the music from West Africa to London, adding elements of jazz, mambo and calypso along the way and paving the way for the Afro sounds of the 1970s." - Soundway Records

Thursday
Mar262015

TOBIAS JESSO JR. - Goon

"The story of Tobias Jesso Jr.'s rapid ascent in many ways began with the breakup of the band Girls and Jesso reaching out to producer Chet 'JR' White in the aftermath of the split. But the storybook beginning, which included Jesso relocating from Vancouver to San Francisco, sleeping on White's couch during recording, and inevitably collaborating with the likes of The Black Keys' Patrick Carney and Ariel Rechtshaid as well, is only the background. Jesso's debut, Goon, doesn’t need any of it to be impactful or important. What Jesso has delivered is a record that needs no context, that can exist outside of time and place. Jesso, in short, has crafted a masterpiece, with the only connection of real significance being between him and his audience.

While the comparisons to Harry Nilsson and John Lennon hold up over the course of the debut, what may be the most surprising is the range that Jesso shows throughout. Goon isn't all piano ballads; hell, it isn't all ballads, period. 'Crocodile Tears' is a mid-tempo, psych-tinted strut that finds Jesso boo-hoo-hooing his way into unexpected territory. 'Leaving L.A.' is something totally different, lounge-y in its instrumental breaks, allowing Jesso freedom to veer from straight-ahead singer/songwriter territory. Throw in the guitar backbones of 'The Wait' and 'Tell the Truth,' and Goon contains plenty of variety in both tone and arrangement, carefully placed gaps in the ultimate strengths of the album." - Paste